The Encylopedia of British Football

Billy Hartill

William (Billy) Hartill was born in Wolverhampton on 18th July 1905. After leaving school he joined the Royal Horse Artillery as a bombardier. A talented footballer he scored over 70 goals before he was demobbed.

In August 1928 Hartill was signed by Frank Buckley, manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers. He made his debut against Bradford City on 24th November 1928. He also played in the next game against Grimsby Town, but after failing to score in these two games he was dropped from the first-team. He was recalled in March 1929 and two goals against Chelsea. After this game he became a regular member of the side and acquired the nickname "Artillery Billy".

In the 1929-30 season Hartill scored 33 goals in 36 games. This included all five against Notts County at Molineaux. Despite these goals Wolves could only finish in 9th place in the league.

The following season Wolves finished 4th in the Second Division. Hartill was again top scorer with 30 goals in 39 appearances. Billy Hartill scored 30 goals with hat-tricks against Plymouth Argyle, Bristol City, Southampton and Oldham Athletic, in the 1931-32 season and helped the club win the Second Division championship. Charlie Phillips was also in great form adding 18. The club scored 118 goals that season.

Despite the signing of Bryn Jones from Aberaman in 1933 Wolves could only finish 15th in the First Division in the 1932-33 season. Hartill remained in good form scoring 33 goals. This included four against Huddersfield Town and hat-tricks against Blackburn Rovers and Derby County.

The 1933-34 season was disappointing for Hartill. In an injury hit season he only scored 13 goals in 27 appearances. However, the following season he was back to his best with 33 more goals.

In July 1935 Frank Buckley sold Hartill to Everton. He scored on his debut against Portsmouth but lost his place in the side and after making only five appearances he moved to Liverpool in January 1936. He made his debut against Grimsby Town later that month. However, he only played in four more games before being transferred to Bristol Rovers in the Third Division. Hartill was unable to help his new club gain promotion but he did score 19 goals in 36 games before playing leaving the club in 1937. He played for Street before an injury brought an end to his football career in 1940.

Billy Hartill, who was landlord of a public house in Wolverhampton, died on 12th August, 1980.